Sixt has assured Max Verstappen of future car hire freedom after the three-time World Champion was reportedly denied in his attempt to hire a Mercedes AMG GT while on holiday, as he was “too young” for the insurance.
With the F1 2023 campaign now in the books, personnel are enjoying some time away from the Formula 1 scene before focus switches to a record 24-round calendar to come in 2024.
For Verstappen, he was looking to spend free time with family and friends by putting a Mercedes AMG GT through its paces at the Autodromo Internacional do Algarve circuit, but found his age getting in the way of such plans.
Max Verstappen too young for insurance
As reported by The Sun, Verstappen and Co had rented in the region of 20 cars from the company Sixt, but instead of the Mercedes AMG GT that he had wanted, which can hit a top speed lower than that the three-time World Champion experiences in his Red Bull F1 machinery, he was forced to make do with a BMW 5 Series instead.
The Sixt employees would explain to Verstappen that sadly, their insurance policy does not allow under 30s to get behind the wheel of that supercar, which can max out at 195mph.
His manager Raymond Vermeulen was the one behind the wheel of the Mercedes.
“Max and the group went to Portugal for a fun racing trip and had booked the cars they wanted,” a source is quoted as having explained to The Sun.
“When they got to the airport, Max was shocked when he was told he wasn’t allowed to drive the Mercedes he wanted.
“He’s a seasoned F1 driver who’s used to handling powerful cars, so it’s quite astonishing to think he wasn’t allowed to get behind the wheel of this one — but those are the rules, so he abided by them.”
A response from Sixt is also provided, the firm assuring Verstappen that in future special exemption will be afforded, though they stressed that their employees were only correctly enforcing the rules.
‘The employees of our franchise partner in Portugal have only followed the rules that arise for insurance reasons,’ a spokesperson is reported as having said.
‘In order to find a customer-friendly solution on site, Mr Verstappen was provided with another premium vehicle.
‘However, there can be special circumstances that justify a deviation from rules. This is such a case.
‘We apologise to Mr Verstappen. He can rent the car he wants from us at any time.
‘There is of course no doubt at all about his driving skills and his experience with powerful cars.’
This trip was reportedly a stop-off for Verstappen on his way to Brazil, the Red Bull driver having recently confirmed on the team’s podcast that he is heading there for his brother-in-law’s wedding.
“I’m still travelling quite a lot,” he said regarding his off-season plans.
“I have to go to a wedding of my brother-in-law in Brazil. So then I will spend Christmas there as well because otherwise I’m travelling back to Europe again. So that will be nice because it’s good temperatures around there at the moment.
“So escape the cold and then I go back to the cold into the snow a little bit, because I haven’t been skiing for like five years, at least five years, so hopefully, I don’t need to call the team start of January that I broke a leg!
“And then slowly when you’re in January, you start training again.”
Verstappen will aim to become a four-time World Champion in F1 2024, an achievement which would match Sebastian Vettel’s streak with Red Bull between 2010-13.
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